A Formulaic Romance
This is the start of another story Amelia and I are putting together. There’s a pun in the title that will become obvious in time.
The story starts with Rachel, Lady Hayforth, throwing the dice in a desperate try at the marriage mart and coming up short when her carriage breaks down in the middle of nowhere. After a complicated string of happenings, she ends up engaged to Rupert, Lord Hartshorne, an aspiring chemist who did mysterious things for the war office in the recent past. His notebooks have gone missing, and a mysterious Mr Oliver is involved. Last week Rachel and her friends went to look at the stars after an eventful afternoon. George has left for the village. One might think that Rachel’s life would get simpler without this distraction, but that would be no fun.
Rupert showed he has something that connects his shoulders to his hips. Last week, the start of a new chapter shows that another of his talents is important. We discovered why it was so important that Rupert come with Sir Roger recently. Rachel awoke below decks in a ship (a channel barge). Despite the sterling reputation of the English as cooks, the crew ask Rachel to cook for them. Her choice of seasonings has their desired effect. The morning after she gave thanks for her deliverance she writes to let her friends know where she is. Things, however, are afoot and the game is on – especially with the reappearance of Mr Oliver.
When you’ve finished with this tripe, take a look at the better authors in Snippet Sunday.
The sounds grew, if anything, louder. “I only hope she’ll finish soon.”
Will she ever stop? Rachel said, “Do you mind if I go for a walk? For an hour or so.”
“I’d come with you, except I shall have to talk sense into two silly women. At least Mrs Fowler is rational.”
Rachel put on her, actually Elizabeth’s pelisse and bonnet that she’d borrowed, and then stepped out the front door. As she walked out into Church Lane, the sun warmed her face. The smell of nettles and blackberry bushes mingled with the traces of horse from the lane. A chilly breeze brought the sea smell in from the river. She took a deep breath and relaxed. Turning right, towards the river, she listened to the sound of Elizabeth’s sobbing wails. Poor girl. To be so overcome by feeling. Good thing Rupert and I are rational beings. The wailing faded as she walked to the river, replaced by the sound of gulls. They circled about a fishing dock at the end of the lane.
Part way to the dock, she turned up a farm lane. I like this solitude. What am I to do about Rupert and Charity? What about George? She stood and watched the wind play in the corn. Last year was so wet, the crops rotted and the poor starved. She continued along in the warm sun, with the cool breeze ruffling her bonnet. Charity’s so clearly in the same. No. I’m his fiancée. The lane approached the bend in the River Ouse, and away from the sea breeze, the insects rose to meet her. The rank smell of the marsh replaced the fresh smell of the ocean. Time to walk back to Hook. Rachel swatted at a biting fly. She looked up. There were three men, struggling in their muddy clothes. They were walking towards her.
They saw her too.
She turned and ran. They ran faster. With no other choice, she cut across to the riverbank and slid behind a willow. The branches tore at her and the mud squeezed between her toes on her right foot. The shoe was somewhere. She waited, breathless, squeezing herself into the smallest ball she could.
One of our books, set at GSU, made it to the university reddit. No sales, but still a nice thing to have happen.
Rachel is referring to the unfortunate combination of the “Corn Laws” – a tariff imposed in 1815 that raised the price of wheat – and the eruption of Mount Tamboura which lead to crop failures around the world. The target price (80 shillings per quarter) was so high that it was never reached. Malthus (yes, the Malthus Malthusian limits) thought it a fair price. The market disagreed. Further punitive laws were passed in the 1820’s and repeal took until 1841 when Robert Peel became PM. He’s the Peel who inspired “Peeler’s” as a term for policemen.